Microsoft is pushing everything to the cloud. Of course, informed business persons are concerned about any public disclosure of their proprietary data and very cautious of exposing customer private information protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Microsoft has been pushing a new approach to office applications http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/Latest-News/Microsoft-Outlookcom-Email-Unlikely-to-Catch-Google-Gmail-722916/ so that all things are “in the could” — that is, residing outside the protection of your companies servers onto servers owned and run by someone else who you cannot control. Also, private company data placed on the Internet is always in jeopardy of unauthorized disclosure should hackers succeed at breaking into the “cloud” server on which the data resides. Apps served from the Internet “cloud” are similarly at risk as they could possibly be hacked to include backdoor code to send your private information to an unauthorized third party.
As the government increases its invasion of privacy, even collecting any private customer information that they desire by merely sending a letter to your ISP (without a judges knowledge, consent, or approval) and demanding all your records (requiring the ISP to deny even the existence of said demand letter “because revealing any information about this (illegal) demand for information could harm our national security”), businesses rightly become even more skeptical of the safety of placing trade secrets and customer information on the Internet “cloud”.
However, Microsoft Office, including Outlook, has been the “premier” office app suite for years. Serving apps exclusively from the web allows Microsoft to sell subscriptions for regular monthly income and drastically reduces their support costs — they do all the updates to one copy of the software which is served to everyone from the “cloud”. In the next version of Microsoft Office Outlook as a program that runs on your computer under your control is apparently being deleted and replaced by the web site Outlook.com.
Businesses have been slow to give up having their office software running under their own control on their own computers and switching to “cloud” served apps, such as Google Apps. However business have been using Web Mail in some cases and are recognizing the advantages of accessing information from mobile devices. This could be a small step toward gaining acceptance for removing owner control of all apps and changing all business software to be hosted on web servers and merely rented on a monthly basis.
Whether the death of Outlook will matter, or not, remains to be seen: people may simply accept the improved Hotmail.com renamed to Outlook.com and made to look more like the Outlook mail client businesses used to have.
In time I think the change to strictly rented office apps will progress, even if businesses do not agree with it or like it — if they are going to continue to use Microsoft the answer will be “Resistance is Futile: halt and be assimilated”. If the objections are strong enough there is always very nice #OpenSource software alternatives to #Microsoft 360 and #cloud.